Originally developed to show off the traditional carting and weight-pulling skills of the heavier breeds such as Newfoundlands and Bernese Mountain Dogs, draft-dog competitions are now open to all breeds. The test begins with some basic obedience exercises, then the dog is harnessed and hitched to a cart or wagon, and taken by his handler through a series of manoeuvres designed to demonstrate his usefulness in hauling a wheeled vehicle safely and quietly over smooth terrain. The dog is also asked to pull a freight load over rougher terrain, which includes natural obstacles, and at the advanced level, backpacking exercises are added to the mix of required skills.
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